Barbara Lacen – 1947 – 2023
Barbara Lacen was a true “Cultural Bearer.” Her love for New Orleans culture led to her involvement in Social Aid and Pleasure (S&P) Clubs for over 40 years. Coming from a family of musicians, second liners and Mardi Indians, she joined the Lady Jolly Bunch S&P Club at 25 years old and was one of the founders of the Lady Money Wasters S&P Club in 1979. She joined the Original New Orleans Lady Buck Jumpers in 1985. It is no surprise that Barbara expanded her cultural resume to become a Mardi Gras Indian queen.
Her experience in the traditions gave her the incentive to create the New Orleans Social Aid and Pleasure Club Task Force to protect and preserve the cultural institutions of second–lining, Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs, brass band music, and spontaneous jazz funeral processions. These Institutions positively promote the cultural heritage of New Orleans to the world. An expert in these traditions, Lacen was one of the city’s most sought after lecturers by local and national universities. Her tireless commitment to contributing to her community, prompted her to create the New Orleans Social Aid and Pleasure Club Task Force. When asked why she felt this was important she stated. “It was my love and involvement that gave me the incentive to protect and preserve the cultural institutions of the city.”
Barbara was also a community activist and was appointed by former Mayor C. Ray Nagin to serve on his “Bring Back New Orleans” Commission Cultural Committee to ensure the legacy and cultural fabric of New Orleans was nurtured and preserved after Hurricane Katrina.
Norma Miller – 1919 – 2019
Norma “The Queen of Swing” Miller, Life-long Artist-in-Resident
Known to many as “The Queen of Swing”, Norma Miller was an author, choreographer, dancer, comedian and actor whose career spanned over eight decades. Discovered at the age of twelve by the Savoy Ballroom’s legendary dancer Twist Mouth George, Ms. Miller was in show business ever since.
Honored with a 2003 National Heritage Foundation Fellowship from the National Endowments of the Arts for her role in creating and continuing to preserve “the acrobatic style swing dance, known as the Lindy Hop,” she was an inspiration to all who knew her.
Alvin Batiste, Sr. – November 7, 1932 – May 6, 2007
“Legendary Pioneer of Jazz”
Alvin Batiste is one of the most distinctive modern jazz clarinetists of his generation. A music master, composer, arranger, educator and performer, Batiste is best known for taking the music to the next level while at the same time, devoting his life to preparing the next generation of jazz musicians. He was a music pioneer who contributed to every music genre.
“Bat”, born in New Orleans in 1932, is among a few artists who have created a modern approach to improvising on the clarinet. One of his first of many accomplishments was being the first Black high school student to receive an invitation to perform with the New Orleans Philharmonic. Batiste performed Mozart’s Concerto with the orchestra. He later earned a Master’s degree of Music in clarinet performance and composition from Louisiana State University, a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Southern University in Baton Rouge and is the author of a book entitled “The Root Progression System: The Fundamentals of African American Music.” read full bio
Kimberly “Kim” Carbo – August 29, 1960 – July 24, 2004
Born August 29, 1960, Kim graduated from the University of New Orleans with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication. She was an innovator, a leader, and an artistic force. For it was Kim who convinced the City of New Orleans to create its first office of Film and Video. She was a writer, poet, administrator, student and lover of music and film. She worked for two New Orleans mayors – Sidney Barthelemy and Marc H. Morial.
Her work brought jobs and boosted the tourism industry by showcasing New Orleans to the worldwide audience of music lovers. Kimberly facilitated the filming of Dead Man Walking, The Pelican Brief, Kingfish, Blaze, Interview with a Vampire, TNT’s The Big Easy, MTV’s Real World TV series and many other feature films, commercials and music videos. read full bio
Clyde Kerr, Jr. – 1943-2010
Trumpeter, composer and influential music teacher Clyde Kerr Jr., whose list of students included Nicholas Payton, Terence Blanchard, Irvin Mayfield, Christian Scott and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews died in August 2010. Born in 1943, he was a founding faculty member and led the trumpet department of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp every year until his death.
A native of Treme, graduate of St. Augustine High School and Xavier University, Kerr played with many national and local performers including the Jackson Five, Aretha Franklin, The O’Jays, Tony Bennett, Jackie Wilson, Allen Toussaint, Nancy Wilson, Dr. John and the Neville Brothers. read full bio
Alice McKay – January 15, 1930 – May 2, 2013
Alice Buckner McKay was born in New Orleans on January 15, 1930. She attended high school at Gilbert Academy graduating in 1947.
Alice went on to learn x-ray technology under the tutorship of Dr. Richard Timpton. She passed the national board exam in the late 50’s and became one of the first black female x-ray technicians in the country. She worked at Flint Goodridge Hospital in New Orleans as the Chief Radiologic Technologist for many years. She was a member of the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and worked at Charity Hospital, as well. read full bio